Tango classes Monterey: What are the differences between American and International Tango?

Almost every young person taking dance lessons in Monterey, CA is interested in Tango. Tango classes in Monterey are highly popular, but dancers are confused about the differences between American Tango, which is the most popular style of Tango in the United States, and International Tango. We discuss the differences here, but first a quick introduction to Tango and its evolution.



Tango was originally born in the 19th century in the streets of the Argentine city of Buenos Aires. It soon became quite a rage in the early 20th century, as people saw it as a salacious, even illicit way of passing the night. Tango was soon introduced in Europe through Paris, which was when it became really popular and renowned worldwide. Tango underwent many changes since then, it became a more gentrified version of its “dirty dancing” original version, and became a much more refined, elegant and beautiful dance form over the decades since.

This original form of Tango is popular as Argentine Tango. And while it underwent great refinement since its inception in the late 19th century, it was still too salacious for the American public. In fact, Tango was first introduced in the United States through the 1921 film, “Four Horses of Apocalypse”, starring the then Hollywood sensation, Rudolph Valentino. While movie became a rage largely because of the new dance style that was introduced, it was decided to Americanize the Argentine Tango, as the original was too intimate, even scandalous, with more body contact than Americans of that era were comfortable with.

And thus was born, American Tango. American Tango was first designed by the famous dance teacher Arthur Murray, who made Tango safe and less sexy (if that’s possible!) and incorporated other Ballroom dancing steps into it, made it less spontaneous, with more standardized dancing steps that were easier to teach than the original version. The Tango moves were simplified and dancing skills categorized into three levels of increasing difficulty – Bronze, Silver and Gold.



Equally popular among those joining dance classes in Monterey is the British version of the American Tango, called the International Tango. International Tango is pretty much similar to American Tango, save a few differences here and there. International Tango was simply a result of American Tango crossing over to London. The British decided to give the American Tango a more codified form, standardizing the steps and the movement further to make the dance easier to judge in competitions. And they named the new version of the American Tango, “International Tango”.

The differences between American and International Tango aren’t that many – except that American Tango has open holds, which allow dancers to make broken hold moves including underarm turns, while International Tango is done only in closed holds. In International Tango, dancers are not allowed to break three points of contact – right arms, left arms and the hips. This is particularly important in dance competitions as judges deduct points whenever dancers break contact.

So that really is the only big difference between American Tango and International Tango. You may learn both in our Tango classes.

Free dance lesson Monterey Ca
* Free ballroom dance lesson is for residents of: Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside. Salinas CA and new students only.

Ballroom Dance Competitions


Ballroom dance competition

The best part of learning ballroom dance forms such as Salsa, Tango and Swing, is that you get to take part in so many wonderful ballroom dance competitions, where you get the opportunity to display your dancing talent. Many young people join dance classes in Monterey to put them on the fast track to doing well in ballroom dance competitions all over the United States. They take up Salsa classes or Swing and Tango classes, depending on what excites them most. If you’re one of those people interested in taking part in ballroom dance competitions, we have compiled a few tips that you may find quite useful. Read on!


#1.It’s all about participating!


Really! Ballroom dance competitions are highly competitive for sure, but taking part in them is more important than actually winning them. These contests are generally held in a very friendly atmosphere and there is no negativity of any sort that we see in competitive sport. The whole idea is to enjoy yourself, have lots of fun and make great new friends while you’re at it!


#2.Practice hard before the competition


This goes without saying. Both you and your partner will have to find time to practice together. You may choose to take up private ballroom dance lessons for this, as hiring a private dance instructor to help you out with the advanced skills that you need to do well in dance competitions is a great idea. But the critical thing is to work very hard on your dancing. Practice every day; just have a fixed time for your dancing and stick to it.




You must rehearse with the costume that you’ll be wearing in the competition several times before the day of the contest to familiarize yourself with it, so that there are no sudden unwelcome surprises when it matters most. The very worst thing you can possibly do is to wear your dance costume for the first time just on the day of the competition! Be sure that there are no issues with the length of your costume and the stitching, and have them repaired immediately if you are not totally comfortable with them. Also, you should concern yourself more with the functionality of your costume than with its attractiveness or appeal. If you’re performing Tango for instance, your dress has to be made of stretchable fabric as Tango requires a plenty of hop movement. If you’re performing at Waltz, then your costume shouldn’t be too risqué. In almost all forms of ballroom dance, the gown shouldn’t be too long beneath the ankle as that would hamper your movement. Also, many ballroom dance competitions have very strict dress codes and guidelines. Be sure to read up on them long before the day of the competition.


#4. Shoes and Accessories


Pick dancing shoes that you’re very comfortable with, and wear them in your daily practice sessions. You may try out a great looking necklace – not too expensive – as an accessory, as well as a matching hair pin


#5. Put everything into your dance performance


Finally, at the day of the competition, put your heart and soul into your performance. Don’t be nervous about the fact that your performance will be closely monitored by hundreds of other people, including the judges. Just immerse yourself into your performance so much, that you just forget everything else, and do it as perfectly as you did while practicing the same so many times before. Be as relaxed in a competition as you would be in a social gathering. Remember, participation is the important thing here. Just learn to enjoy yourself even in a competition!





..a word on the various ballroom dance competitions that you may consider taking part in. In the United States, dance sport championships are held in Los Angeles, usually in April. The Wisconsin State Dance sport Championship is also held in April, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and in Oakland, CA, you may take part in the Spring Fling. These are just a few of the many great ballroom dance competitions held in the United States every year.


In Canada, the Crystal Leaf International Dancesport Championship is hosted by Toronto, Ontario. In the United Kingdom, the Black pool dance competition is very popular. You may also visit other countries such as Belgium, Latvia, Romania, New Zealand etc. and have great fun taking part in the great ballroom dance competitions hosted by them.

Free dance lesson Monterey Ca
* Free ballroom dance lesson is for residents of: Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside. Salinas CA and new students only.

Three of the most popular Latin American dance styles in Monterey, Ca

When it comes to our hobbies and pastimes, generally speaking, most of us don’t get that much time to relax and enjoy ourselves. When we do however, it’s important to spend our free time doing what we love and what we feel especially passionate about. Some people enjoy going to the gym, some people enjoy keeping fit, some people paint, some garden, but one pastime and physical activity that has been practised for centuries upon centuries, is dancing. Dancing is a beautiful art, no matter which form you happen to practice. Whether you’re into salsa, jive, swing, street, or anything else for that matter, the great thing is that dancing ahs numerous benefits, including the fact that it helps us to lose weight, tone our muscles, improve our cardiovascular fitness, and generally live a healthier and happier life. American dance styles, or rather Latin American dance styles, are especially influential and popular amongst keen dancers all over the world, and for that reason, let’s take a look at three of the most popular styles.


Cha Cha Cha – Sometimes referred to as the Cha Cha, this dance, which originated in Cuba, is very similar to the Mambo in style. The difference however, is that after the initial movement of stepping forwards, backwards, and shifting the weight between each foot, the Cha Cha Cha will then add a set of three additional steps, which are all completed very quickly. That’s one Cha for each step, so now you know how it got its name.


Rumba – The rumba basically consists of not one, but just two, quick steps, quickly followed by a much slower step which actually takes up two whole beats to complete. A great way of guiding your movements when dancing the Rumba, is to use a box-like square pattern on the floor. The Rumba was originally danced with very quick steps, but ballroom Rumba dancing now involves much slower and controlled steps, making it a more intimate dance.


Samba – This dance is of Brazilian origin and is actually danced to music with exactly the same name. In Brazil, many different variations of samba dancing have developed over the years, with some for solo individuals, whilst others are for couples. With different samba dances, different samba music will be paired, with the speed of the actual dance itself relying on the music that is being played. Many carnival events in Brazil, particularly in Rio, involve a number of samba dancers in costume putting on an amazing show.


Check out dance classes in Monterey, Ca at our studio to learn these latin dances. We provide excellent instruction for beginners and experienced dancers.

Free dance lesson Monterey Ca
* Free ballroom dance lesson is for residents of: Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside. Salinas CA and new students only.